Durand Johnson is out for the year

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Pitt sixth man, Durand Johnson, is out for the year.

It has been announced that Durand Johnson will be out the remainder of the year with a torn ACL. Durand Johnson was averaging 19 minutes a game for the Panthers as he typically was the first man off the bench. Johnson had been averaging 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist per contest. Johnson also ranks second on the team in three pointers made with 22 on the season. The redshirt sophomore from Baltimore was coming off an impressive week as he scored 14 against Maryland, and 11 yesterday against Wake Forest

Obviously, this is bad news for Jamie Dixon and the Panthers. Although Johnson was technically not a starter, he certainly had to take on that role in plenty of games this season. Outside of Lamar Patterson, Durand Johnson was Pitt's next best outside scoring threat.

Jamie Dixon will now have a shorter bench through the rest of the season. The Panthers are down to nine healthy scholarship players, not counting Joe Uchebo. The void left by Johnson will create more opportunities for Josh Newkirk and Chris Jones, and perhaps even Jamel Artis at the small forward position. Chris Jones will likely benefit the most, as he was only averaging roughly six minutes a game.

Jamie Dixon offered up this to say about the devastating news about Durand Johnson in a press release.

“We are thoroughly heartbroken for Durand,” Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon said. “With his passion for the game and outstanding work ethic, Durand has contributed significantly to our success. He has made so much improvement in all facets of his game this year. I expect that same passion and work ethic to help Durand return at 100 percent next season.”

Obviously it is never a good time to lose an important player in a basketball season, but the Panthers have the majority of the conference schedule to make the adjustments to the rotation and style. Still, it certainly adds a little doubt to this team. After an upbeat 3-0 start in conference play and a likely top 25 ranking tomorrow, it sets everything back a little. The Panthers will travel to Georgia Tech on Tuesday before a massive showdown against number two Syracuse on Saturday.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics.

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